Venus and Adonis: A Love Story
What makes for a good story? Love, adventure, and tragedy make a story exciting. The story of Venus and Adonis is one such tale. Here's how it goes: Venus, the goddess of love, fell for the handsome hunter Adonis. Adonis, who was a bit of a snob, believed he was the best hunter in the world and that nothing could ever happen to him.
One day Venus dreamed that Adonis had an accident while hunting. She rushed to try to prevent him from going off to hunt, but Adonis ignored her. He thought Venus was crazy to believe in such dreams. Unfortunately, Venus's dream came true: during the hunt, a wild pig with large tusks killed Adonis. A heartbroken Venus had to watch her poor Adonis die because he did not listen to her warning.
This painting includes some symbols that help tell the story. A symbol is an object that stands for something else, often for an idea or feeling that is otherwise difficult to represent. Here, the two cupids represent love. You are probably familiar with cupids like these from symbols you see around Valentine's Day. The two doves are symbols associated with Venus. They also stand for love and faithfulness. Dogs are also a symbol of loyalty. How do these symbols help us understand what’s going on in this painting?